Over her four-year career at Palisades, Lydia Bottelier hasn’t been surprised about the results of too many events.
During her final appearance at the Penn Relays recently, Bottelier encountered a new experience. It was one of two she has encountered this season.
The Palisades senior won for the first time in international competition, capturing the girls’ high jump title with a personal best of 5 feet, 10 ½ inches, a half inch above her personal best.
Bottelier bested Morgan Smalls of South Carolina. She had been sidelined with a left knee injury a week before the event and had been seeded seventh.
“This was a complete surprise to me,” said Bottelier. “Having the leg injury recently really made this special. When I was told that I won, I broke down.
“It was such a great feeling considering the circumstances.”
Bottelier and Smalls both cleared 5-10.5, and they both bowed out at 6-0.4. Bottelier took the top spot due to fewer misses. Previously at the Penn Relays, Bottelier finished 14th her sophomore year and eighth last year.
She earlier hit the 5-10 mark during the indoor season at the New Balance Games in January. This season, Bottelier had limited her performances to one meet and the team’s invitational this season before the Penn Relays, and she set a new personal record in the 100 with a time of 12.32.
“My coaches thought it would be best for me to take some time off,” she said. “I plan to be in four out of the high lump, long jump 100, 200, 400, and 4x400 relay. I feel really good now heading into leagues and districts especially after the Penn Relays.”
Bottelier also gained a different perspective watching from the sidelines.
“It gave me a different view of the sport,” said Bottelier about the different look. “Initially, it was hard watching, but then I realized what our coaches see. I can see we have a good team and I am glad to be part of it.
“It was a really cool experience.”
Bottelier’s career as a two-time PIAA high jump state champion is in its final stages before she embarks on her next journey at the University of Pittsburgh.
“It’s hard to believe that it is down to the final month,” she said. “I am really excited to go to Pittsburgh. Right now, it is a sad ending, but a new beginning.”
Yet, there is sure to be more to the ending over the next month.